Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday Poetically with Brian Miller

Welcome to Friday Poetically.

Walking through the door of Jonas Gerard's gallery, I knew I was in for an experience. Standing in rooms filled with paintings, I was nearly overwelmed with the emotion and feeling conveyed through vibrant colors and mixed media, each carrying depth of the deepest poetry. This is exactly what Gerard seeks in his works, far more than any intellectualizing.

 Love Force #5

"People have strong reactions. Sometimes tears flow. It can be a therapeutic experience."

You can see how much Gerard connects with people in how he paints. One of the most facinating things is that he engages the viewer by putting on live exhibitions, with live music, where he will paint several canvases. His painting is spontaneous and he has no idea what will come out when he steps in front of the canvas.

"Fast spontaneous painting, rhythmic music exploding in the background. Energetic improv come to life."

"Music gets me going with a willingness to take risks."

"Learn to trust that everything happens for a reason. Give up results. Give up planning. Give up worry, and the big one, give up fear."

 The Way I See It #8

To say I found my visit inspiring is a huge understatement and the enthusiasm that resonates from Gerard is contageous. So I asked if I could share a bit of that with you by using several of his paintings as prompts for our poetry today.

•Write a poem inspired by one of the two paintings
featured in this post.
•Post it on your site.
•Sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
•Finally, visit other participants, comment, and give
credit to Jonas Gerard in your post by providing a
link to his site.

Happy Friday Everyone

Jonas Gerard Fine Arts is a working studio/gallery located in the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina. If you would like to see more of Gerard's artwork or read more of his story please visit their website. If you are ever in Asheville, I highly recommend a visit as I am sure you will be as inspired as I was. ~Brian

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Featured Poet: Eric Alder, winner of humorous poetry contest

One Stop Spotlights Eric "Bubba" Alder

Welcome to One Stop Poetry. Dustus here to introduce today's guest, Michigan blogger Eric Alder—winner of our Humorous Poetry Competition!

As you may recall back to when I hosted Week 22 of One Shot Wednesday, I introduced a Humorous Poetry Contest. M
any brave poets submitted poems to be read on a future episode of The Arts Web Show —written, filmed, and edited by artistic blogger Richard North (aka Kseverny). Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and for this contest Richard chose Eric Alder's narrative poem entitled A Fine Kettle of Fish. As a result, and in addition to providing the link to the video clip presenting a reading of A Fine Kettle of Fish by Eric Alder, I am pleased to both feature Eric and spotlight three of his excellent poems.

Eric "Bubba" Alder
About Eric (in his words)....

"I got started writing in a college Creative Writing class. I had to keep a daily journal and write something (anything) every day. I did the 'dear diary' thing at first, then started writing funny stories. As I learned more about them, I began trying other types of writing.  (I got an "A" in the class) ...I've always been a reader.  I first got into science-fiction—still my favorite genre. About ten years ago I decided I wanted to read more of the 'great books' of literature. Then, five years later I got into poetry, which opened up new creative vistas for me.... I started blogging in November 2007, on my now defunct Windows Live Space, which has since been migrated to WordPress."

Eric's Sense of Humor...

There have been many instances where I have visited someone's site during One Shot Wednesday to read a comment by Eric that is both timely and extremely witty.
And when it comes to his poetry, whether it shines through his words overtly, or lingers subtly between his lines; his sense of humor is ever present. However, as you are about to discover, Eric's attention to precise writing implements humor as just one aspect of many quality features that comprise his work.

Following my favorite poem of his that was dedicated to his wife (Perfect Enough), Eric shares with us both his personal favorite (Earth Mother's Song) & his poem that received the most comments (Curse You, Sylvia Plath).


Perfect Enough
(for my wife Tammy)

You wonder why I love you so
You just can’t understand
My love for you just seems to grow
Each time I hold your hand

When you look in the mirror
You don’t like what you see
I can’t make it much clearer
You’re beautiful to me

You note each imperfection
And notice every flaw
I tell you with affection
Those things I never saw

I look a little deeper
And see the good inside
I know that you’re a keeper
That cannot be denied

You think your hair is just plain brown
And sometimes out of place
I like the way that it hangs down
When you’re kissing my face

The prettiest eyes I’ve ever see
They look so blue they twinkle
But then again sometimes they’re green
Perhaps it’s some new wrinkle?

But most of all I love the way
You always show you care
Even on the roughest day
I know that you’ll be there

The truth is plain to see indeed
It shouldn’t be too tough
Our love is everything we need
And that’s perfect enough


Earth Mother's Song

I’ve seen a broad field awash in fog,
gray-blanketed like a misplaced pond.
That same field, one dark summer morn,
lay a-twinkle, festooned with bright fireflies.

I’ve seen a great horned owl appear,
alighting atop a tall pine, majestic and wise.
Resting briefly, then silently swooping down
to disappear into the dark woods.

I’ve seen a pine martin stealing along,
dipping between the fallen birch and cedar,
popping up unexpectedly in a new spot,
red eyes glowing in my flashlight beam.

I’ve heard a tom turkey’s questioning call,
seeking to uncover this brash imposter.
A slow, hidden funeral procession
bursting forth to claim their roost.

I’ve heard lake echoes of spring frogs peeping
seeking mates among the green reeds,
the surrounding din of a million crickets creeping
on a hot August night, throbbing with life.

I’ve heard thunder roll along for miles
'til a blinding white flash strobed silhouettes
of stark, stiletto tree shadows all around
and the deafening clap froze me in place.

I’ve smelled the sweet, pine-scented winds
that blow through the north woods, thick
with undertones of green moss carpets
and ferns inexplicably bright in the shade.

I’ve smelled the musty down of a grouse
that loudly took flight at my approach,
unseen through the yellow aspen boughs,
revealing this visitor clumsy in his ream.

I’ve smelled an oncoming storm
blowing in from the west,
deepening the sense of isolation,
submersion in a still-wild place.

As a child I learned Earth Mother’s song
and it still sings deep within my heart.
I learn a new verse each time I venture
into those places where she yet dwells.


Curse You, Sylvia Plath

Curse you, Sylvia Plath
For making me care
To love your words
Words that nail and rail

Tearing up-down walls

Curse you, for your daddy
No one else could have been
Lady Lazarus in a bell jar
Life, a lie, alive

Hiding behind perfect Arian features

With clean, fashion-sensible shoes
You walked on big city streets
Wet and dirty and litter-strewn
Sweater warm against the cold wind

You would have blown away like a bright kite

I want to fill you on your hospital bed
Watch your cheeks flushing red
With blood the ghouls will later drain
Blood you’ve already tried to let flow

Flowers wither and wilt, unwanted

Why wasn’t I a tulip
Born that much sooner
Just to be yours for awhile
Another unloved lover

Sacrifice sung, then eaten

But you moved in other circles
Traveling about your world
A cold world I can never know
Except from what you tell me

Inscribed in indelible black

Feeling the world too deeply
Drowning in too many seas
While the desert inside
Left your soul arid as

Your words seeped out

Could I had saved you
From yourself, the world
To just be a ragdoll, limp
Would I even care then?

Or do I care because I did not?

Curse you, Sylvia, my dearest
For drawing-out knives
Sharp-tongued words
That break and cut skin

Bleeding as real as now

Check Out Eric Alder's main blog: Bubba's Place

Eric also maintains 2 other separate blogs on Blogger:
Haiku blog:
Photo blog:

*Come watch the Video Clip of Eric's winning poem, as performed by the various characters of Richard North over at The Arts Web Show


Moondustwriter Thursday - Featuring Cartoonist Aaron Sallan

Welcome to another edition of Moondustwriter Thursday! On these weekly features we try to regularly show off the talents of youth. If you know a teenager who is an artist, writer, poet, or musician, we would love to have the opportunity to share their talent with the One Stop Poetry world. I would like to thank Jessica Kristie for once again guest hosting Moondustwriter Thursday.

With much joy, I bring you Aaron Sallan! I recently connected with Aaron through his father Bruce Sallan (@brucesallan) on Twitter. I have seen several of Aaron’s comic masterpieces and have been very impressed by his talents.  Enjoy Aaron and his wonderful creations!

Aaron Sallan was born on October 6th, 1996, in Brentwood, California. He always had an interest for art. In kindergarten, he would draw all day until his teacher told him he had to stop...

To read more about Aaron and see some of Aaron's cartooning please go to our new One Stop Poetry Website.

To enjoy more of Aaron's cartoons visit  Boomer Tech Talk

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

One Shot Wednesday - Poetry Week 30

Welcome to One Shot Wednesday - Poetry Week 30

Hi and welcome to another week of celebrating and enjoying Poetry. I am Pete Marshall and I shall be your host this fine evening.

Before we start however I have a few announcements to make....

Over the last six months we have seen One Stop Poetry grow from strength to strength, and in doing so One Stop Poetry has outgrown this site and needed to create a new, more structured place. A place where you can continue to enjoy what we do. As we introduce more ideas and features to an already exciting place, we promise to  keep alive the community spirit and love of poetry that brought us together. We are expanding to include elements that encourage young people to write and explore the arts. We strive to make creative writing explode off the pens of young people. We therefore are proud to announce the creation of

Obviously moving address is always a stressful time yet we hope that the transfer will be a seamless exercise and cause as little disruption to you as possible.

Thank you all also for your support and votes for One Stop Poetry in the Shorty Awards. If you haven't as yet voted or wish to encourage your followers to vote we are nominated for two awards in the categories Art & Poetry. The voting finishes this week so as much support as you can muster is more than welcome.

Now I feel its time to let One Shot Wednesday begin. If you are new or wish to have a recap here is how it works;

1, Write an original poem and post it to your blog

2, Link back to One Shot Wednesday from your post

3, Sign up in the Mr Linky list,(use the URL from your blog) linking directly to your post, AFTER you've posted it. Mr Linky will be open from 5pm EST Tuesday (10pm UK)  until 3am EST Thursday (8am UK). If you need help with this, please ask in the comment box.

4, Go visit others that have posted. This is a great way to learn new forms, meet new poets and gain inspiration for your next piece. though this is not mandatory we encourage you to visit at least one other poet and give some helpful feedback.

5. For some of you I need to stress - don't feel that you need to comment on each poem, take your time and enjoy the read.

On behalf of all the One Stop Team...Happy One Shot

One Stop Spotlight - Adam White

I think most of you have already met poet Adam White somewhere along the One Stop trail, where he shares his excellent poetry every week.

Adam has a strong voice and I very much enjoy his honesty and straight forwardness (not only in his writing) but his variety when it comes to approaching different poetic styles.

Adam is about to move from England to Canada and I want to say a special thanks that he found the time to write a bit about his background, how he came to write, and what inspires his poetry.

You can read more of Adam's work on his blog "Poetry by Adam White" and you can also find him on Twitter @adamwhitepoet.

~ Claudia

His Hands

His hands are steady, workers hands,
They work a dark workers task,
Twisting lives with thread and needle,
And souls infused in cloth and glass.
Forming perfect feminine shape
Sweetly curved and lovingly made,
With naive minds unused to life,
Innocent, untouched and afraid.

With their feet, their delicate flesh
As soft as softest, bone white silk,
They wake unknowing in the dark
Skin shining bright like moonlit milk.
Hearts of glass rest in breathless breasts
And no breath will pass their painted lips
And eyes like stars freshly cast
Guide ships in to their careful kiss.

He made one most desirable
Of all his pretty maiden dolls.
Kairi. Her name was Kairi and
She had the most shining of souls.
She was kind and sweet and caring
And giving with her lover's heart.
Her beauty left perfection spent,
Surroundings rendered empty, dark.

All able men craved her presence
Wanted, not the word for her.
Craving the most common of sights,
Her smile raised and so deftly turned
They would promise no disservice
To the beauty of his great craft,
But on this day, his love was money
And where there's money, there's a man.

He was a lord, a libertine,
A hedonist both crass and cruel,
A violent and heartless creature,
A drunkard and a proven fool
His fists played harsh on her beauty
From the first night she spent enslaved
Her suffering was so lasting
That one cold night, she ran away,

Her stitches split, stuffing scattered
Kairi dashed through dark and winding streets
Far from the pain her master gave
With clubbing hate and cloying heat.
She ran back to her great maker,
Through a bleak and telling storm,
To fall at his door and scream for love,
And sanity and for warmth.

His hands, his steady workers hands
That night they pulled at golden seams
They tore at cloth and snapped strong thread
Despite her cries and dying screams.
He ripped her perfect form apart
And smashed her eyes of starry glass
And started work on replacing her
With his hands, his steady hands.

(Copyright Adam White)


I was born and raised in Birmingham, England and (other than a year or so in Northampton, which is just as bad) I've spent all my life here. Anyone who has visited will know it's a horrid place and I am a product of that. That said, I've been blessed with knowing some wonderful people and come from a very loving family, so that has made the whole terrible situation much more bearable.

How I Came to Write:

I started writing when I was 16 (11 years ago, woof,) after some particularly traumatic events, at the suggestion of a man much more intelligent than myself. I'd lost somebody I was close to and it pushed me over the edge. That edge was self constructed of course, me being a 16 year old lad, raging with hormones, confusion, and a fair share of mental health issues which I'd hidden from everyone instead of doing the smart thing and seeking help. By the time I'd reached the tipping point, it was a little too late to reconcile my problems in an easier way so I spent a fair few years writing as a form of therapy.

It was all awful. I had no idea of form or structure or anything like that. I just scribbled hard words and, for the most part, that writing is very grim and not fit for human consumption. Take the normal teen angst poetry and combine that with a healthy dose of fantastical insanity and you're just about there. I still write this poetry and, hopefully, this part of my writing will never be read by anybody but me.

The more normal writing (if you can call it that) is the stuff I started writing for pleasure and makes up the bulk of the poetry I post on my blog. At first, the writing may have been a coping mechanism, but as I wrote more and more, I started to enjoy it. The story telling aspect of poetry is the part I love the most and, browsing through my site, you'll come across an awful lot of narrative driven verse about heroes and villains, lovers or suffering innocents.

This urge to share is a recent thing. I once ran a poetry group through the old msn communities but was never as serious about having my work seen as I am now. I set up my blog at the end of September 2010 and have been flabbergasted (great word) by the reaction. I am genuinely surprised by the amount of traffic my blog receives and all the positive feedback I've received, much of it from all the wonderful poets I've met through Twitter, Facebook, and especially One Stop Poetry. The hard work the guys here have put in to building a poetry community and promoting the up and comers is fantastic.


I love all poetry but I do have a bit of a bone to pick. I read and study a lot but I have tried to look at the medium from an objective standpoint. I've noticed that I read much of it and feel sad that, as an art form, it has become increasingly abstract and elitist, especially here in England. This is by no means a modern problem (read Milton and his self referential nonsense) but it seems like to become part of the establishment nowadays you have to write about things that only intelligentsia and other poets are going to understand. This means that the majority of people find the work unintelligible. I genuinely hate this and, while in my more private work, I do write a lot (a LOT) of this kind of stuff myself, I will only post the accessible poetry on my own blog. I want anybody to be able to read and enjoy poetry. All they should have to be able to do is read. Maybe part of it comes from how poetry is taught in schools here (badly) but the trend for referential writing isn't doing the medium any favours.

I chose to share the poem "His Hands" with you because I think it's very indicative of my narrative work. Also because it hasn't been looked at a lot by people and it's one of my favourites of my recent output. As a reader of poetry, it satisfies me and that's honestly all I look for. I am a simple creature.

In the next few days, I'm going to embark on my next big adventure. I'm moving to Montreal in Canada (one of my favourite places in the world) to start my new life with my frankly wonderful partner. What will follow is a long period of writing freedom for me, so you can expect an increased volume of writing. I will be working on my epic poem, Udulo's Wars, a few screenplays and bringing my novel up to scratch. Bits and pieces from all of these will be popping up on my blog so look out for that. My work will keep popping up on One Shot Wednesdays and One Shoot Sundays too so keep your eye out for me and add me on Twitter @AdamWhitePoet.

Photo credits:
Creative Commons, Andreas Levers, Jonathan Khoo

Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday One Stop Poetry form - Villanelle guest post by Luke Prater

One Stop Poetry Form

We want to encourage you to explore different poetry forms over the weeks and months to come. We will spend the first "session" describing the poetic form and the second week will be a time for the individual poet to do exercises with the form and an experienced poet. Please have fun and remember we are learning together! 

Welcome to our second Villanelle Monday!

For part two of our Villanelle class, I would like to introduce Luke Prater.
Many of you will know him already from One Shot Wednesdays. Luke was also featured several months ago on One Stop Poetry with one of his Villanelles. Luke has written many Villanelles and is very familiar with different forms of poetry.

Luke, I want to say a big "Thank you" for doing this. I very much appreciate your hard work for putting this together for us.

Now I'd like to hand you over to Luke...enjoy..

I avoided poetry throughout my teens and wrote prose instead (occasionally; I was very lazy), but when I finally got to University/College to do my Bachelor's in English Lit with Creative Writing, poetry really grabbed me by the scruff of the neck. When we learnt about the villanelle form, it stood out immediately as being both evocative and compelling due to the repetition, and in possession of far more musicality than most other forms I had encountered. The repetition of the two alternating refrains being one reason, but two other aural poetic devices are also very much present: rhyme, and meter/rhythm. Being a musician as well as a poet, aural device has always won me over, as opposed to visual device (metaphor, simile, personification, etc, though of course these are important also). It's a case of the 'three Rs' - Rhythm, Rhyme, Repetition.

Varying one of the refrains (the second (A2), preferably), can be very effective, however. It depends on context/theme/tone, and can lend the Narrative aesthetically pleasing variety and more sense of movement. A favourite villanelle, Elizabeth Bishop's One Art, does just that, and it's worth mentioning that varying/semi-repeating a refrain isn't out of the question, yielding fine results in many cases. As you can see here, it allows the piece to progress and be wrapped up with a varied A2 refrain appropriate for the closure.
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I am a poet who tries as many forms/genres as possible to stretch myself; many I will never return to, but I will always come back to the villanelle. I'll leave you with one of mine that you may not have seen, and that also isn't inappropriate in theme/tone/language (!)… in fact it's a rewrite of my very first I wrote at University all those years  ago, re-versifying it in iambic meter (pentameter), which, if you can manage it, will guarantee a smooth flow, and leave the reader in no doubt whatsoever as to how your lines are to be spoken/read rhythmically. This is why iambic meter become so popular, and the norm with form poets in English; also because it is the closest meter to how we naturally speak, with its lilting alternation of unstressed and stressed syllables.

An example for iambic pentameter (5 beats) would be:

do NOT | go GEN | tle IN | to THAT | good NIGHT

        1              2           3           4                    5

The First Day of Spring
by Luke Prater

Embittered Winter cast Himself away
upon a gale, and swept elsewhere on it.
The Sun shone brightly, Summer’s bold foreplay.

I wished the madding Springtime to betray
His colder cousin, knowing time befit;
embittered Winter cast Himself away.

The trees, they danced in wonderful ballet;
the singing breeze was happy to admit
the Sun shone brightly, Summer’s bold foreplay.

The Birds, they felt the change by break of day,
and joined the breeze in strains, pale-morning lit.
Embittered Winter cast Himself away.

And you and I, socks off, we tread the way
across the grass, and under trees we sit.
The Sun shone brightly, Summer’s bold foreplay..

Old man, invigorated, bright, though grey,
he mumbled praises like some Jesuit.
Embittered Winter cast Himself away;
the Sun shone brightly, Summer’s bold foreplay.

We are learning together..

Last week we said, we would take one of the Villanelles, have a closer look and give detailed feedback.
Adam Dustus (of One Stop Poetry) volunteered with the very first Villanelle he has written and Luke took the time for a detailed critique.

 Adam's original poem:

Once we have learned our lonely dreams can be
Oh God not knowing where or how to start
When all I ever want is you and me

Blank canvas drips like a soaked willow tree
Save in found comfort assembling shared parts
Once we have learned our lonely dreams can be

Until feeling lost can’t tell you are free
No flow chart off course for a bleeding heart
When all I ever want is you and me

Rudderless ships carry skeleton keys
Her lip-curled smile trumps my so-called art
Once we have learned our lonely dreams can be

Our last taken breaths, which death guarantees
Molecules boil over, anger departs
When all I ever want is you and me

Vision focused now, our present to see
For love a sincere gift, fair will imparts
Once we have learned our lonely dreams can be
When all I ever want is you and me

Hi Adam -

The central aspect here which, in my humble opinion, needs addressing, is the meter. Your two refrains flow well and scan five (pentameter) fine.

'Blank canvas drips like a soaked willow tree' (line four) > it took me several attempts to be able to speak/read this as five stresses. It's not obvious at all where the stresses should fall. Some may try and force the third stress onto 'a', which certainly doesn't want to be stressed, 'soaked' is probably what you intended? Viz - 'blank CAN | vas DRIPS | like a SOAKED | WIL low | TREE'. This line would flow better if you stripped one of the two unstressed small words there ('like' or 'a') and made 'soaked' into the continuous tense 'soaking', something like this -

Blank canvas drips; a soaking willow tree [pref; or] Blank canvas drips like soaking willow tree
'Save in found comfort assembling shared parts' (line five) > I'm having real difficulty with this line, metrically/rhythmically. You are relying on either the 'in' to be the first stress (which, being a preposition, it really doesn't want to be - we can only stress in poetry what we naturally stress in our language, or it renders lumpy lines, iambs or not), or 'found', which is OK, but requires the reader to realise that you're starting the line with a trisyllabic foot, like this -

'save in FOUND | COM fort | as SEM | bling SHARED | PARTS' ... this is still unwieldy rhythmically and many readers will be lost on the meter and struggle to feel where the beats fall. The fact that you have two stressed syllables to end on doesn't help either. Suggest (and just a suggestion, as always :) -

Except in comfort assembling shared parts [or] Except in comfort gathering shared parts  [this pref. 'found' is redundant and 'assembling' too many syllables in that particular place in the original version of the line]

'Until feeling lost can’t tell you are free' (line seven) - also struggling with the meter here. To count as five, it requires the first word's stresses to be reversed in relation to how we normally speak them, ie - 'UN til' rather than 'un TIL'. The flow is generally difficult in this line, but if you made a simple change in the right places, it would look completely different, eg

Until you're feeling lost, can’t tell you're free [if you're loathe to use 'you're' twice, substitute the first with another appropriate monosyllabic word]

'Our last taken breaths, which death guarantees' (line thirteen) - the number of stresses here is ambiguous - it could be read as four or five, depending on the reader (such is the problem when writing in meter but not strictly iambs or trochees; often lines depend of being spoken/read a certain way to scan). I assume you mean it to read like this -

OUR last | TA ken | BREATHS which | DEATH gua ran | TEES? but it could easily be read like this -

our last TA | ken BREATHS | which DEATH | gua ran TEES = tetrameter (fours). Think it's ok though, the majority of readers will see it the first way. And either way, it does flow, but 'which' is redundant and it would be less ambiguous regarding how to read/speak it with that word removed, ie -

Our last taken breath, death guarantees [also removed the 's' from 'breaths', it eases the flow and highlights the breath/death internal rhyme]

'For love a sincere gift, fair will imparts' (line seventeen) > this scans fine, but I wonder what you think of the notion of making it smoother by altering the front end slightly to 'For love's sincere gift...' etc? Or does that change the meaning? It eradicates the indefinite article 'a' (always good to rid these small 'filler' words if possible). The line would look like this -
For love's sincere gift, fair will imparts

You have many fine lines here Adam, and overall the premise/message is solid and clear. I particularly like the 'soaked willow' image, and this line is striking and provokes thought: 'Rudderless ships carry skeleton keys'. If it were mine I'd use lowercase at beginnings of lines (bar following a period, obviously, actual or implied by stanza-break); the form is old, but you're writing in modern language (for the most part; phrases like 'fair will imparts' seem a little archaic and slightly incongruous with the tone of the rest), no caps would suit in my opinion but it is merely a taste thing. In the old days poetry was always always capitalised, but most of it now is not. Your refrain -

'Once we have learned our lonely dreams can be' - I'm not sure I understand it. Do you mean 'Once we have learned how lonely dreams can be'?

One or two areas I would consider cliche in phrasing, but that's probably just me :) ('Oh God' and 'bleeding heart' stand out as such, but to some they may be fine). I could go deeper, but I think this is enough on one piece; nice villanelle, sir, especially if it's your first and these are all merely my opinions, to be taken or left as you choose. Thanks for allowing me to take it apart, Adam. I hope it was useful to you.

Are you in for some more practicing on Villanelles?

Once again, you will have the possibility to write a Villanelle and link up with us. Have a look at last week's Villanelle class for details like structure and writing tips.
Luke and I will try to make our way around but may not manage to visit each of you and, as Villanelles are quite complex, we won't manage to give a detailed feedback on all of your linked up poems (form, rhyme, correct meter etc.)

But if you want a detailed and honest feedback, please leave us a comment here in the comment section and we will have a closer look at what you came up with.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Photography Interview with Mike Roemer (& Picture Prompt Challenge)

One Shoot Photography Sunday!

Well it's Sunday here at One Stop, and that means another edition of One Shoot for your viewing pleasure. This week I, Chris Galford, will be swinging you up to the Midwest and a state close to my own, Wisconsin. Our guest today is Mike Roemer, a photographer based out of the Green Bay area.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he studied photography and communications. Roemer is a commercial photographer today, but he wasn't always. In fact, he kicked things off in much the same way I hope to utilize my college degree- Photojournalism. His background is immersed in the deadline intensive world of daily newspapers and editorial photography; he traveled west to the state of South Dakota for that opportunity.

Today, Roemer runs his own business. That doesn't mean he doesn't travel though. In fact, according to his website, he not only travels nationally, but internationally on a regular basis to help his clients get what they need. The end result is a diverse portfolio, with a wide range of visually-stimulating creations. On behalf of One Stop Poetry, we hope you enjoy a sample of his work as he shares his insights with us today.  —Chris Galford


What originally sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been working with photography? 
Mike: My dad was a newspaper photographer when I was growing up.  I used to tag along with him on assignments.  Watching the image come up in the darkroom was a very magical moment.  My dad let my brother and I shoot the occasional roll of black and white film in his twin lens reflex Mamiya camera and then he bought us our own camera, a Canon TX, in junior high.  I really didn't get serious about photography 'til my freshman year of high school.  I was playing freshman football and my dad would come and shoot the games and give me contact sheets of the action.  I would take the contact sheets,that I would print in our darkroom at home, to school and sell black and white prints for a $1.00 .  It didn't take long for me to trade in my helmet for a camera for Friday night football.  I never did play Varsity.

What is it about photography that appeals to you?
: I love turning a shot into something the client and the subject doesn't expect.  I shoot with very shallow depth of field and as wide or as long of a lens as possible.  I also use a great deal of gels to add a little extra punch to my images.  I love the look on a client's face when I show them the image on the back of the camera or on my laptop and they can't believe I created that from what they see in front of them.

Do you maintain a personal philosophy about photography?

Mike: Shoot every picture like it's going to be a portfolio image. Give every picture your all.

On your site you note you travel pretty regularly & extensively for your photo-work. In all that roaming around, have you found any favorite spots/locations you've taken photos in?
Mike:  I love variety.  I've loved shooting transportation photography in the deserts of Arizona, I love the challenge of gaming and casino photography in casinos from Wisconsin to Mississippi, I love shooting healthcare photography in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.  For me to be happy, I need to have a variety of subjects and locations.  A perfect week of shooting for me would be a couple of days of annual report photography for a healthcare client, a couple of days of casino photography, and then finish the week off shooting the Packers at Lambeau Field.  The shoot that I really want to do this winter is in the ice caves of the Apostle Island near Bayfield, Wisconsin on Lake Superior.  My wife and I have kayaked and snowshoed into the caves and I've done some photography up there, but this winter I want to head up there with a fleet of small strobes and do some cool unexpected shots.  The ice caves that form in the winter are controlled by the National Park Service.  Some years the caves are open for a month, and some years they aren't open at all; it all depends on the quality of the ice.

What has been your experience with the internet as a medium for sharing your art and photography?
Mike: I love to blog.  I really like showing off images that I wouldn't have had an audience for before.  I think it keeps me more creative and always looking for images beyond what the client expects.

Do you find common ground between photography and other creative pursuits like writing or poetry?
:  They are all forms of expressing one's creativity, but with some aspects of photography like news and sports if you miss that magical moment you can't recreate it.

What sort of education/experiences have you gone through to get where you are today?
Mike: I studied photography in college and graduated with a degree in communications.  While I was in college, I interned at three different daily newspapers during the summers, and I also was a freelancer for the Associated Press shooting Packers games in Green Bay.

How much of your work/photography in general would you say is pure shot vs. post-processing/digital editing?
Mike: I really try to do as much as I can in camera.  I do some photomerge and HDR work in Photoshop along with minor touch-ups and such, but my in-camera philosophy comes from my editorial roots.
What kind of camera, lenses, filters, and/or editing programs do you typically use?
Mike: I shoot with Canon cameras and have their rapid fire cameras for sports and their full frame big capture cameras for the rest.  I have lenses from a 15 mm fisheye to a long and fast 400 mm F 2.8 for sports and some commercial work and the occasional portrait.  I use Photomechanics and Photoshop for my editing.  For lighting I use mostly Elinchrom and Chimera products.

What would you suggest to people just beginning with photography?
Mike: There are an endless amount of places to learn on the web.  Look at other photographers' web sites and blogs for inspiration, but still come up with your own style.  I would also suggest to any young photographer to learn by assisting an established photographer.  Assisting is a great way to learn the business.  I learned by shooting 4 or 5 assignments a day early on in my career at a daily newspaper, but I also wish I would have assisted more in my younger days.

To learn more about Mike & his work, check out the following links:
Twitter: @RoemerPhoto
Official website:

And now for the Picture Prompt Challenge!

  • Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55) based on the prompt.
  • Post it on your site.
  • Sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
  • Let us know what you are sharing by leaving a comment below.
  • Finally, visit other participants, comment, and give credit to Mike Roemer in your post. 

Thank you,

Accept the picture prompt challenge! :)

image by Mike Roemer

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A Saturday Celebration: Lord Byron

A Saturday Celebration:
Lord Byron, 1788 - 1824

Today at One Stop Poetry we celebrate the work of one of Britain's most famous poets, George Gordon Byron. He is  6th Baron Byron, born, 22nd January 1788, better known as Lord Byron.

Byron’s short life of 36 years was full of adventure and literary acclaim. From being revered as a national hero in Greece, for taking arms and fighting the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, to the famous tale of being cooped up for three days during a “wet, ungenial summer” at the Villa Diodati, which  led to Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Frankenstein.

Byron shared the benefits and pitfalls of celebrity.  Affairs and scandals were to follow him throughout his life, including those of sodomy and incest. These things coupled with bouts of depression, extravagant, flamboyant and eccentric behaviour, an extreme temper, a club foot which caused a limp to blight him all his life, Byron certainly had many sources of inspiration.

Following a violent fever, he died, on 19th April 1824, whilst in Greece fighting for their independence. Such was Byron's standing that having been embalmed, the Greeks wanted to keep part of him with them. It is rumoured that either his heart or lungs remain in Greece. Byron's body was returned to England for burial at Westminster Abbey. However, due to "unquestionable morality" the Abbey refused the burial. He is buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, in Hucknall, Nottingham. 

He left behind a daughter, The Honorable Augusta Ada Byron, born 1815, who herself holds a notable place in history. It was she, who worked closely with Charles Babbage, the man who was widely regarded as the inventor of the modern computer, and is known for  being the world's first computer programmer.

As a leading figure in the Romanticism movement, Byron was a prolific writer, and it is his work that we wish to share and celebrate today. There have been so many poems to chose; I am sure you each have your favorites. Today I will leave you with three poems, starting with, perhaps, his most known, She Walks in Beauty

She Walks In Beauty
by Lord Byron (1814)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

When We Two Parted
by Lord Byron (1817)

When we two parted
In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow— 
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me— 
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:— 
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met— 
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?— 
With silence and tears.

Epitaph to a Dog
By Lord Byron (1808)

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies. 

images all courtesy creative commons/wikipedia